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Tim McGrath

Chicago | Member Since 2004

65
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
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  • Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Marion Meade
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    This is an exuberant group portrait of four extraordinary writers, Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, and Edna Ferber, whose loves, lives, and literary endeavors captured the spirit of the 1920s.

    Diana says: "Fascinating lives!"
    "Juicy literary gossip..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...and nice capsule biographies, not only of the four main figures--Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Edna Millay--but all the best writers of the time, including F. Scott, Edmund Wilson, and of course Hemingway. Zips along at a high rate of speed, pausing now and then to make you laugh at the zingers these ladies could produce.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Ben Macintyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (144)

    Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War - while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby's best friend and fellow officer in MI6.

    Michael Eaton says: "The Greatest Spy -- Ever Discovered"
    "An oft-told tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not as riveting,not as chilling, as Peter Wright's "The Spycatcher," not available on Audible. The difference is the difference between a story told by an outsider and one told by an insider. The one is just a journalist; the other has a personal and moral stake in the outcome of the story. Macintyre has a slightly new angle, but it doesn't call for an entirely new book. Walter Isaacson wrote a breathless review in the NYTBR, but the book didn't make this reader, at least, feel like hyperventilating.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Southern Woman: New and Selected Fiction

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Spencer
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    Since 1944, when she published her first story, Elizabeth Spencer has been acclaimed as a writer of short fiction in the great tradition of Welty, Chopin, and Mansfield. The Southern Woman: New and Selected Fiction, her first collection in almost fifteen years, again makes available the author's most masterful stories and novellas, including "The Light in the Piazza" and publishes more than ten new stories for the first time.

    Tim McGrath says: "Not Eudora Welty"
    "Not Eudora Welty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Or Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, Katherine Anne Porter, or even Lee Smith. I read only two or three of Spencer's stories, but they were as slow and languid as a Mississippi June. Maybe that's the point, but I like stories and sentences that are a little more energetic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Sherwin B. Nuland
    • Narrated By Sherwin B. Nuland
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (70)

    There is a vast literature on death and dying, but there are few reliable accounts of the ways in which we die. The intimate account of how various diseases take away life, offered in How We Die, is not meant to prompt horror or terror but to demythologize the process of dying, to help us rid ourselves of that fear of the terra incognita.

    Ruth says: "Required reading for those still breathing"
    "Rip-off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't notice until I downloaded it that it's an abridged version. This is not the type of book, in either length or content, that can benefit from being abridged.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Brothers Karamazov

    • ABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    The book probes the possible roles of four brothers in the unresolved murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov. At the same time, it carefully explores the personalities and inclinations of the brothers themselves. Their psyches together represent the full spectrum of human nature, the continuum of faith and doubt. Ultimately, this novel seeks to understand the real meaning of faith and existence and includes much beneficial philosophical and spiritual discussion that moves the reader towards faith.

    Tad Davis says: "An expert abridgement"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is easily the best version of the book I've tried. It is crisp, clear, focused and fast. By fast, I mean that it has narrative drive and speed, and never loses your interest. At 20 hours, it is the ideal length. In a book that needed surgery, the guy knew exactly where to cut. Not only is it abridged, however, it has been revised. The best thing he did was to dispense with the Russian patronymic. For example, he calls Ivan "Ivan," not "Ivan Fydorovich," which is an earful as well as a mouthful. Without sacrificing richness or depth--without sacrificing what makes Dostoevsky great--it reads like a contemporary novel in English, not a big, shaggy bear of a novel from the 19th century. I wish he'd do the same for "War and Peace."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Gary Krist
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    When 1919 began, the city of Chicago seemed on the verge of transformation. Modernizers had an audacious, expensive plan to turn the city from a brawling, unglamorous place into "the Metropolis of the World". But just as the dream seemed within reach, pandemonium broke loose and the city’s highest ambitions were suddenly under attack by the same unbridled energies that had given birth to them in the first place.

    Cookie says: "Great History of a Great City"
    "Crashed like a Blimp"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Krist wrote a gripping prologue but then the narrative crashed to the ground on the first page of the first chapter. Bogged down by detail, it is dry and dull. All the helium leaked out of the story and it never took off again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sonnets

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By John Gielgud
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Tim McGrath says: "Hambone"
    "Hambone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gielgud hams it too much, reading as if he were on stage, trying to emote. More concerned with his interpretation than he is with the meter, he may be a good actor but he doesn't understand the music of verse.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lonesome Dove

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Larry McMurtry
    • Narrated By Lee Horsley
    Overall
    (3225)
    Performance
    (1690)
    Story
    (1721)

    Larry McMurtry's American epic, set in the late 19th century, tells the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana, a drive that represents not only a daring foolhardy adventure, but a part of the American Dream for everyone involved.

    Richard Delman says: "A masterpiece. An epic western story."
    "I CAN'T HEAR YOU"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't hear you because, as others have mentioned, the narrator felt he had to shout when giving voice to Gus McCrae. I really like the book so far, but the shouting is hard to bear. I hope I can get used to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Poetry of Lord Byron, Volume V: Childe Harold, Cantos I & II

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 57 mins)
    • By George Gordon (Lord Byron)
    • Narrated By Robert Bethune
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Childe Harold narrates the experiences of a young nobleman, sated with the wine, women, and song of his native England, who goes forth in search of the wine, women, song, and adventure of Spain, Greece, and the Ottoman Empire. The book is literally an armchair travelogue in rhyming couplets. He expresses himself in vivid, forceful and emotional language on all that he enounters and shapes his experience into a deep study of that subject so favored by all the Romantic poets - himself.

    Tim McGrath says: "Not bad"
    "Not bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The audio of this great poem is compromised by two problems: piano music intrudes at the end of each section, drowning out the words for a stanza at a time, and the narrator, Robert Bethune, turns in an eccentric performance. His reading isn't bad exactly, as his pacing is good and he stresses the right syllables. However, his voice has a slightly nasal tone, and he has a tendency to swoop and soar, coming dangerously close to a sing-song delivery. While this can be a little annoying, it is still much better than having no poem at all. Maybe I'll get used to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Aeneid

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Virgil, John Dryden (translator)
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, the poet Virgil wrote The Aeneid to honor the emperor Augustus by praising Aeneas, Augustus's legendary ancestor. As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, The Aeneid also set out to provide Rome with a literature equal to that of Greece.

    Tim McGrath says: "A Classic"
    "A Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sometimes when you read a classic, especially a classic in translation, it's hard to tell exactly why it's a classic. That isn't a problem here. The ghost of Virgil was hovering over Dryden when he rendered this epic in rhymed couplets. And the ghost of Dryden hovered over Michael Page when he delivered his vigorous narration.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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